Rare Weather Pattern over US — Moving East to West

July 20, 2013

Discussed here, along with cautions for the hot season, by Paul Douglas.

ClimateCentral:

The heat wave that has built across the eastern U.S. — roasting cities from Memphis to Washington to Boston in a stifling blanket of heat and humidity — has had one strange characteristic that meteorologists cannot yet explain in a long-term climate context. Rather than moving west to east, as typical weather patterns do in the Northern Hemisphere, weather systems across the country have moved in the opposite direction, like a drunken driver on a dark stretch of highway, drifting from east to west during the past two weeks.
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The heat wave that has built across the eastern U.S. — roasting cities from Memphis to Washington to Boston in a stifling blanket of heat and humidity — has had one strange characteristic that meteorologists cannot yet explain in a long-term climate context. Rather than moving west to east, as typical weather patterns do in the Northern Hemisphere, weather systems across the country have moved in the opposite direction, like a drunken driver on a dark stretch of highway, drifting from east to west during the past two weeks.

The air flow heading in the opposite direction across the U.S. is abnormal, as is the strength of the dome of high pressure. In recent years there have been numerous instances of strong and long-duration high pressure areas that have led to extreme weather events, including the Russian heat wave of 2010. According to NOAA, scientists are scheduled to meet at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in September to explore whether such “monster ridges” of high pressure are becoming more frequent or more intense as the atmosphere warms in response to manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

Jon Gottschalck acting chief of the Operational Prediction Branch atNOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told Climate Central in an email that it’s not yet clear exactly how unusual the recent weather pattern has been, or what has been driving it. “Yes, the evolution you describe of the upper-level low and high pressure ridge moving east to west is definitely unusual. But it is not easy to quantify really how unusual,” he said.

“It would take considerable time to crunch through the data and utilize a methodology to accurately pick events like this that have occurred in the historical record and quantify [them]. From a climate-forcing perspective, there is no clear climate pattern right now that we can point to as a contributing factor and so we can really only attribute this evolution to natural internal variability, at least at this stage.”

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73 Responses to “Rare Weather Pattern over US — Moving East to West”

  1. omnologos Says:

    This is the n-th story of desperation, looking for ANYTHING deemed “unusual” and then trying to pin it to “manmade greenhouse gas emissions”.

    It cannot be a serious way to push the discussion forward.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      The ongoing story is that arctic ice melt is one possible causal factor in an observed change in jet stream behavior.
      a rarely observed movement of weather systems may or may not be a part of that story, but does seem relevant to the narrative, at least as part of the record.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      If you were American, you’d be an ideal candidate for the Republican party.
      They too believe that “pushing the discussion forward” means the other side must 1st agree with their point of view wholesale.

      We’ve seen a LOT of weather weirdness over the last few decades and it seems to be getting weirder – not a good sign.

      And, to hell with pushing the discussion forward – the 25th anniversary of Hansen’s testimony before the Senate was about a month ago.

      That was 25 yrs well wasted; we don’t have another 1/4 century to dicker with dickheads.

      • omnologos Says:

        MorinMoss – if you are interested in “weather weirdness” first you have to define it in some mathematical way, then go out and measure it in the wide whole world. Sitting on a couch awaiting the next “curious thing” won’t move the discourse forward, rather transform climate change science in a collection of quirky clouds.

        • MorinMoss Says:

          That’s exactly what climatologists and other researchers have been done for decades.
          Where have you been?

          • omnologos Says:

            There is no measure of “weather weirdness”.

          • NevenA Says:

            Does an increase in atmospheric blockings fit the bill, omnologos?

          • omnologos Says:

            Almost. What is “an increase”? By how much? What theory said it was going to happen, and in what amount?

          • NevenA Says:

            Great, I ask you a question, you answer with three questions. Why does it feel like you’re asking me to do your homework?

            “What is “an increase”? By how much?”

            An increase is an increase. I think a better question is: How much is an increase to YOU?

            “What theory said it was going to happen, and in what amount?”

            Before even going into that, I wonder if those questions are at all relevant. Whether a theory said it would happen or not, doesn’t change the fact that it is happening. There is of course a theory – you might have heard of it – that when you increase the concentration of greenhouse gases, you cause the coupled systems of atmosphere and oceans to accumulate energy (or heat of you like, a couple of Hiroshima bombs a second), which in turns causes changes to the hydrological cycle, and this changes climate patterns, by for instance increasing atmospheric blocking events.

            The big question here is: Would YOU maintain that the chance that Arctic sea ice loss and spring/summer snow cover loss increase the occurrence of atmospheric blocking events is ZERO?

            If your answer to this question is ‘no’, and given the fabulous run of extreme weather events in the past couple of years, what effect does this have on your online behaviour? Will you continue to take your chances and keep trolling comments threads with your FUD, like today: “This is the n-th story of desperation, looking for ANYTHING deemed “unusual” and then trying to pin it to “manmade greenhouse gas emissions””?

            Because if you do, and it turns out that the increase in atmospheric blocking events is there and causes increasing damage to property, lives and personal freedoms, you will be a first-rate a***ole.

            So, do you feel lucky, punk? I think it’s time you start to think about the implications of what you’re doing.

          • omnologos Says:

            NevenA

            Great, I ask you a question, you answer with three questions. Why does it feel like you’re asking me to do your homework?

            You appear unfamiliar with the way science progresses. For every question investigated, a thousand more questions arise.

            How much is an increase to YOU?

            This is not a personal quest. We should have a reasonable definition of what we are measuring, what we are not measuring, and how we are measuring what we are measuring. Otherwise it’s just impressions/anecdotes.

            Whether a theory said it would happen or not, doesn’t change the fact that it is happening.

            It changes the way we look at the phenomenon.

            …which in turns causes changes to the hydrological cycle, and this changes climate patterns, by for instance increasing atmospheric blocking events.

            But without quantities and measurement, it’s a just-so story. Many claim the End Times will bring wonders and curious phenomena, but that doesn’t mean if we observe wonders and curious phenomena then it’s the End of the World. That applies to science, not just religion.

            The big question here is: Would YOU maintain that the chance that Arctic sea ice loss and spring/summer snow cover loss increase the occurrence of atmospheric blocking events is ZERO?

            Oh no…not again!! Why do all discussions have to end up with a focus on my opinions? You know what, if I respond to that question then some twit will show up and claim I have “hijacked the thread”. Thanks but no thanks. What I would maintain was not the topic of Peter’s post, and it’s completely off-topic here.

            I have promised I would stick to discussing methodology, and I hope I will keep my promise.

            So, do you feel lucky, punk? I think it’s time you start to think about the implications of what you’re doing.

            Are you going for “torch and pitchforks”, accusations of witchcraft or a simple “repent ye sinner”?

          • Dennis Cox Says:

            In fact there is a very valid measure of “weather weirdness”. One only has to look at the total number of longstanding weather records that are surpassed in any given area or time frame. The number of extreme weather events, whether, hot, cold, excessive precipitation or not, etc. can be seen as a direct measure of “weirdness”.

    • stephengn1 Says:

      I did not note any desperation in the tone of this article and i did note the use of all caps in your reply. One question, what Nth number of events are necessary before a recognizable pattern emerges? Meteorologists could list a thousand such events in recent history, but it would not matter to people like you.

      There are none so blind as those who will not see

      • omnologos Says:

        You’re almost there, Stephen.

        What Nth number of events are necessary before a recognizable pattern emerges?…indeed!

        Let’s see if anybody with the necessary expertise will come up with a reasonable answer to that.

        Few might know it but even Flaubert in XIX century France complained about the fact that every winter and every summer was thought of as “unusual”.

        • stephengn1 Says:

          “Let’s see if anybody with the necessary expertise will come up with a reasonable answer to that.”

          They have, troll.

          http://www.wri.org/publication/connection-between-climate-change-and-recent-extreme-weather-events

          You seem to be stuck in century XIX

          • omnologos Says:

            No, stephen, you’re not a troll, because even trolls can think, sometimes.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            How would you know?

          • omnologos Says:

            I am sure trolls are able eg to stay sometimes on-topic, understanding what others are talking about, if only so they can push them into discussing something else.

            Stephen on the contrary can’t even Google for “Galileo” and “Science”, and now believes he has single-handedly resolved all the discussion about linking “weird weather” and “recognizable patterns”.

        • MorinMoss Says:

          Citation, please.

          • omnologos Says:

            Flaubert’s quotes available here: http://www.leboucher.com/pdf/flaubert/b_fla_di.pdf

            Pages 32 and 47

          • MorinMoss Says:

            What?? You’re quoting from the Dictionnaire des idées reçues??
            You do know what satire is right?

            Why don’t you look for corroborations to your worldview in Ambrose Bierce’s Devil Dictionary, while you’re at it.

          • omnologos Says:

            MorinMoss

            I said that Flaubert in XIX century France complained about the fact that every winter and every summer was thought of as “unusual”.

            He wrote that in his Dictionnaire, in the form of a fake manual for the “perfect society man”. Of course it’s satire, and everything that is mentioned is what (according to Flaubert) the Bien-pensants (“comformists”?) at the time thought appropriate to think and say (Zola and others had a go at the comformists a few years later too).

            This tells us that according to XIX century comformism, all Winters and all Summers in France (one suspects, elsewhere too) had to be described as “unusual”.

            This has zero to do with any corroboration to any worldview of mine. Flaubert’s impression of what was commonly said at his time, is a historical fact.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            A pair of one line entries in a satirical journal doesn’t really establish anything.
            However, I would point out that Flaubert lived and wrote during a time of considerable volcanism ( although he was born AFTER the Year without a Summer”)

            You and your ilk are not willing to accept the work and words of many dedicated scientists no matter what they present to you but only too ready to pounce on a couple scant phrases, written without context, by a long-dead non-scientist in a time when the human race had precious little besides observation and hearsay regarding weather.

          • omnologos Says:

            well MorinMoss if you have no argument, you have no argument. Just say so instead of going religious.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            Ah, the religion ploy. You will make a fine GOP’er, as I suspected.
            Let’s see you produce statements about 19th century weather / climate from scientific minds instead of weak-sauce hearsay.

            Here’s a gem from Flaubert:

            Toujours se méfier des courants d’air. Invariablement, le fond de
            l’air est en contradiction avec la température; si elle est chaude, il est
            froid, et l’inverse

          • omnologos Says:

            you’re making my point, thanks.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            I disagree but in any case, someone had to make a point; it wasn’t going to be you.

          • omnologos Says:

            I explained my point several times already. if you’re content to sit at your PC and mindlessly complain about the “strange weather” without having any clue of how strange it is, am happy for you.

            You’re primary Flaubert material, perhaps there’s a bored doctor’s wife out there waiting for you too.

          • MorinMoss Says:

            You’re the Flaubert reader, not I and trust an Italian to suggest infidelity as an alternative to boredom.
            Since I expect you’re not such a hypocrite as to recommend something you’ve never tried, I suspect you have to choose your doctors very carefully.

            But it is summer and nearing August so I’m sure you’ll have an enjoyable time.

            “Ferragosto, moglie mia, non ti conosco”

          • omnologos Says:

            Two words: “Richard Sherman”

          • MorinMoss Says:

            Oh, I didn’t realize you were homosexual. My apologies for leaping to the opposite conclusion.

          • omnologos Says:

            is that how Richard managed to resist Marilyn Monroe?

          • MorinMoss Says:

            I don’t know who Richard is; I assumed he was a special friend of yours.

    • Mahn England Says:

      omnologos spins the article to say it says something that it doesn’t: just read the last paragraph!

      To use his words: his contribution here “cannot be a serious way to push the discussion forward”.

      As usual omnologos calls it for not what it is. Reality and his comprehension of it remains beyond his grasp.

      • omnologos Says:

        Mahn England

        the only reality is that very few of you guys want to talk about whatever Peter posts, and only concentrate on trying to make the discussion personal whenever I intervene.

        I am just glad I have none of you as my “supporter” as with a help like that, it’s better to do things by oneself.

        —-

        Going back to topic, people complain about strange weather now, as they complained about strange weather in the XIX century, as they have been complaining about strange weather in the pages of the New York Times for decades. Is it any different now? Perhaps it is. Why so? Nobody explained. Has anybody measured how strange is the weather now? No. Is anybody planning to? We don’t know.

        So what is the point of complaining about strange weather? Apart from having a good feeling by being comformists.

        • MorinMoss Says:

          Why would we want to support a professional troll?
          And why are you wasting your time on the couch here with us?
          Shouldn’t someone of you intellectual pretensions, er, I mean curiosities go straight to the source.

          As an omniclimatologist, we expect from you a marvelous demonstration of the truth of global warming & climate change but the most profound thing I’ve ever seen on you site is your supposed-satire about the logical impossibility of AGW and a lot of political bellyaching from someone who professes a panoramic view of all the sciences.

          If that’s seeing Heaven in a Wild Flower, then your Bloom has wilted.

        • Mahn England Says:

          If I was to be supporting you what is it that I am supposed to be supporting?

          You do not make this clear. That maybe your problem.

  2. NevenA Says:

    “looking for ANYTHING”

    Thank God we don’t have to look hard.

  3. omnologos Says:

    From the NY Times: STRANGE WEATHER HAS SWEPT OVER THE WORLD; THE TERROR OF THE SKIES XXXXXX XX, XXXX (*)

    THIS Summer’s weather has suited nobody. Hot spells have been too frequent for comfort in the city and cold ones for the profits of the Summer resorts. Farmers bewail persistent drought. Shipmasters complain of storms and …

    There is no point in checking what year it was. And it doesn’t mean weather patterns are now less or more unusual than in XXXX.

    It just means it’s long past the time the degree of “unusual” were an actual scientific figure and not a novelty meteorological item used by journalists to write copy.

    Certainly Flaubert would have found the XXXX article very familiar.

    (*) the journalist at the time blamed solar variability, and mentioned stratospheric ozone as the “great heat-catcher” (i.e. GHG). He also went on to conclude that “[weather] extremes and variations [seem to] have arrived”.

  4. stephengn1 Says:

    My guess is that clowns like omnologos are going to have to do a lot of BSing to explain weirdness like these photos from now on

    http://kfor.com/2013/07/15/photos-unusual-cloud-formations-caused-by-east-to-west-front/


  5. I’ve been coming here for about two years, and can’t recall Logorrhea *explaining* anything. His posts are almost entirely smirking buffoonery, case studies in projection and the petulant cavil, the peevish nitpick, the prickly reproach.

    His motivation is not to advance any discussion as far as I can tell, it is to publish his self-perceived superiority. Just click on his name and follow the loathsome spoor. The nom de plume of this jackass betrays his own psychopathology.

    • omnologos Says:

      “as far as I can tell” is the key

    • MorinMoss Says:

      I was going to appeal for clemency towards our resident self-proclaimed know-it-all – he may be a jackass but he’s *our* jackass and even a braying burro needs socializing.

      But, it now appears that he’s seriously working towards donning the mantle of Teabagger and, like Rand Paul going in front of the NAACP, needs to establish his street cred to be held in esteem among the gap-toothed mouth-breathers.

      So if beating him like a rented mule aids in achieving that goal, I say have at it.

      • omnologos Says:

        QED. You’ve gone personal, therefore off-topic, therefore you’re now a troll in the official sense of the word.

        And you don’t know the meaning of “omnology”. Seems like Google is a challenging website for more than one person.

        • MorinMoss Says:

          Your very 1st comment accused Greenman of posting stories of desperation and it was I who originally mentioned weather weirdness.

          Coming from you, with a well-documented track record, calling me a troll sounds like a perverse attempt at a compliment.

          As for omnology, it couldn’t even sustain a Wikipedia page, having been deleted 2 1/2 yrs ago for “Having no indication of importance”

          Clearly you have a lot of work to do; fortunately you can probably do it from the couch.

          • omnologos Says:

            1. I haven’t accused anybody of anything. I have pointed out what it looks like when people rely on “rare weather patterns”

            2. There’s zero track record of me being a troll and am sure Peter would’ve banned me long ago

            3. Your reliance on Wikipedia to build your opinion confirms how comformist your line of thoughtis

          • MorinMoss Says:

            1) Blatant lie. Re-read your own comment.
            2) Peter has a great sense of humor and you make a fine court jester.
            3) I consider Wikipedia a fairly low bar; it’s telling if you can’t meet even that paltry standard.

          • omnologos Says:

            I have no inclination to puncture your delicate fantasy world any further. Funny for you to consider trolling equivalent to jestering though.

            Care to go back to topic? What’s different now from year XXXX when strange weather terrorized the Nytimes pages?

          • NevenA Says:

            “I am just glad I have none of you as my “supporter””

            I’m glad Steven Goddard has you as a supporter. :-D

            “Care to go back to topic? What’s different now from year XXXX when strange weather terrorized the Nytimes pages?”

            More questions, woohoo! Is Omnologos another word for God?

            I’ll try a few:

            - The atmosphere and oceans are XXXX °C warmer, depending on your cherrypick

            - There’s XXXX% less sea ice volume in the Arctic than in XXXX

            - There’s XXXX% less snow cover on the NH in spring/summer than in XXXX

            - The ratio between hot and cold records is XXXX greater than it was in XXXX

            - There are XXXX more glaciers receding than in XXXX

            - There are XXXX more plant and animal species that have moved northward

            Of course, in the world of God/Omnologos all of this doesn’t count. :-)

          • omnologos Says:

            They could have said the same in XXXX. Actually, in that long article on the NY Times there was a list of many things that weren’t any longer like they had always been.

          • NevenA Says:

            No, they couldn’t, because all the things I’ve listed, are now worse than in XXXX, and they will be worse again in YYYY. Especially if folks like you, the delayers, get their way.

  6. omnologos Says:

    Dennis – thank you for staying within topic. Your “measure of weirdness” would not have captured the “weather pattern over the US moving east to west” and a lot of other strange phenomena.

    • stephengn1 Says:

      The video clearly stated the odds of a retrograde low in mid July at .2%. Thus such weird weather events are indeed measured. Thus you have been proven wrong yet again. Your most recent failure…

      “There is no measure of “weather weirdness””

      • omnologos Says:

        you’re making my point too.

        • stephengn1 Says:

          What point would that be?

          • omnologos Says:

            the point is that nobody is measuring “weirdness”. .2% means one day every two years. so what? it’s bound to happen (Western Europe gets unlucky every once in a while too, with winter air masses coming from the East instead of the relatively warmer Atlantic).

            and how would that relate to other “rare” phenomena? is there a way to know if they are less “rare” now?

            But I do understand you aren’t equipped with any tool to answer this. Any luck in finding out where Galileo mentioned “science”?

        • stephengn1 Says:

          “the point is that nobody is measuring “weirdness”. .2% means one day every two years. so what? ”

          No, wrong again, in this context .2% does not mean one day every two years. if it did, we would (OF COURSE) see retrograde patterns once every two years, we do not. It means 1 out of every 500 mid July’s – the exact range depending on how one defines “mid July”

  7. junkdrawer88 Says:

    Just thankful a hurricane wasn’t in the Atlantic.

    Hope this doesn’t become a trend, because most hurricanes recurve out to sea as they move North.

    • stephengn1 Says:

      Exactly. Hurricanes are steered by patterns like this. What would have happened to a hurricane after landfall in this situation? My guess (and it is a minimally educated guess) is that it would have remained nearly stationary and caused massive flood damage

      • omnologos Says:

        “minimally educated”…we finally agree on something!! Woo-hoo!!

        • stephengn1 Says:

          Yes, honesty. As opposed to know it all clowns who put on airs. Speaking of which, What would you imagine would happened if a hurricane made landfall in such a situation, Bozo?

          • omnologos Says:

            You “Bozo” wouldn’t believe me if I told you water is wet, and flames hot.

            I recommend you learn a bit about hurricanes, or perhaps one of the other guys here can explain what happens to them when they hit land.

      • omnologos Says:

        I envy your certainty about the future and ability to read into strangers’ minds using the Internet.

        I don’t envy your anti-historic reasoning. But it’s remarkably common.

        • MorinMoss Says:

          If you care so much about history, surely there are better 91th century references about weather and climate than pithy one-liners from Flaubert.

  8. omnologos Says:

    MorinMoss – you mentioned Ferragosto and I replied “Seven Year Itch”.

    In other news: laziness and comformism often coexist.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      No, you replied “Richard Sherman” – who’s a black (American) football player.
      Are you too lazy to read your own posts??

    • MorinMoss Says:

      Have you actually seen the Seven Year Itch?
      Do your fornicating countrymen have to work as hard at NOT getting laid?


  9. […] Rare Weather Pattern over US – Moving East to West (climatecrocks.com) […]


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